Pete Buttigieg expected to take role in Biden administration as secretary of transportation
During his campaign, former mayor Pete Buttigieg had some big plans for the nation’s infrastructure. That included a $1 trillion plan to “revitalize the nation’s transport networks” through a partnership with state and local governments. Now it seems that Buttigieg might be in a position to turn some of those plans into reality, as sources have indicated that the South Bend native is President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be secretary of transportation.
There had been rumors that Buttigieg had received offers of other roles but turned them down. However, heading up the Department of Transportation seems like a good slot for Buttigieg, who has proven himself as an effective surrogate for Biden and a powerful communicator both before and after the election. Under Elaine Chao, the Department of Transportation has achieved … it’s hard to pin down anything. The department’s plans for the last two years appear to have no ambition higher than catching up on some of the thousands of backlogged repair requests. But then, since every “Infrastructure Week” in the Trump White House has signaled disaster, maybe Chao has thought it best to keep a low profile.
But if Joe Biden follows through on his own plan, Buttigieg will have plenty of things to do.
For everyone harping about the need for Biden to create “a team of rivals” should now feel like Biden is off to a good start; with Kamala Harris as VP, and Buttigieg at Transportation, Biden has done exactly that. And he may not be done.
One of the first things that any incoming secretary of transportation will be facing is the more than 100 environmental and safety regulations that Trump eliminated. Among them is one seriously big one—the use of climate change models and predictions in planning for infrastructure projects. By ignoring this one, the DOT has been citing projects in locations that could literally be underwater soon after they are built.
Biden’s plan calls for creating “millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure—from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband.” Overall, Biden’s plan includes a whole series of options that are designed to make the country both greener and more secure while providing long-term employment.
The plan also calls for proving every city with a population over 100,000 with “high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation.” Which is a great idea. Buttigieg might even have a good place for this to start—the population of South Bend, Indiana, is 101,000.